Country of the Open Heart


56 pages
ISBN 0-919285-11-2





Donalee Moulton-Barrett was a writer and editor in Halifax.


Country of the Open Heart is a humorous, thoughtful collection that elevates the everyday and even the banal to the level of the spiritual.

McFadden says “An open heart is a joy entirely / and is enough to float a mighty thought ... and its very existence can’t be detected.” An open heart, as McFadden later reveals, is also very painful and lonely and sad and necessary — to the poet especially.

McFadden’s work in this book/poem (part three of The Kootenay Sonatas) is clever and entertaining. Sometimes too much so. The reader becomes immersed in the puns and the plays on words and entirely forgets the intent of the poem — what it has to say (and why it was written in the first place). Lines like “time is an omelet ready to fold” are appreciated the first time you read them, perhaps even the fifth; but definitely not the thirtieth, fortieth or fiftieth time.

When McFadden isn’t straining to be cute, his poetry is (successfully) uncomfortable with messages. For example: “even this poem is about to kill itself / to protest in advance its lack of readers / and its inability to continue on forever / in a universe of its own destruction.” They’re unforgettable, but then when you come right down to it so are David McFadden and Country of the Open Heart.


McFadden, David, “Country of the Open Heart,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 13, 2024,